Guest Post: The ‘pull’ to write - By Cara Ward
Since I started writing five years ago I have found myself not only doing it because I want to, but because I have to. Writing got me through one of the hardest periods of my life; when I suffered from red skin syndrome, a condition brought on from the use of topical steroids and was also there when I made a full recovery, so in my battle to overcome trichotillomania, writing has naturally played a huge part in my journey.
What ‘pulled’ me to write the book was compulsion, just like the need to rip out a hair. I started writing a diary, which eventually became EVERY TRICH IN THE BOOK, because something about this attempt to stop pulling felt different. I had been pulling hairs from my face and body since I was roughly twelve years old and in that time my disorder ranged from mild to severe. Like every sufferer, I had tried and failed many times to quit, with each new day marking a fresh start that would inevitably turn to regret. This time something had changed, as if a switch had been flicked. Naturally, I doubted my chances after so many failed attempts but for once I kept going, driving over the bumps in the road and persevering through the points where in the past I would have just given up. I felt like I had to write it all down and mark it in the only way I knew how to. What I didn’t expect was the attachment I would feel towards the diary. It became a friend that I found myself pouring all my trich secrets into. It heard some terrible stories, but also witnessed my growth and eventually, in the end, I found a way of dealing with a compulsion that had stopped me from doing so much. Over seven weeks I learned how to control my trichotillomania and it wasn’t down to some gadget or toy, it was because I got to know myself a bit better and in turn, understand exactly how and why I pulled. The book is my journey to self-discovery.
Due to the nature of my skin condition, it was up to me whether or not to continue. I mean I always had the option to go back to the drugs that were damaging me and would, temporarily at least, give me my life back, although it would all be a lie … or I could fight through the pain, the doubt and anxiety, for the chance of a free life, away from the drugs that had given me all my problems in the first place. When I recovered from my skin condition and fought my mind that was telling me to just give up, I knew I could do anything. It was all down to me.
The sense of achievement is in two parts; to have written a book on my journey and the knowledge that trich doesn’t rule my life like it did in the past. I am free. I am not perfect, but I have found a way of managing my disorder to the point where it doesn’t control me. What I have discovered through writing the book is that we shouldn’t strive for perfection as that is not viable, but instead attempt to find some kind of inner peace. A way to lock away the demons that lurk in the shadows.
I think we all need to remember that we are only human. Things are going to go right sometimes and other times they will not. We aren’t robots, we have emotions and down days and it is always going to be a balance between the good and the bad, so embrace it, but never, ever give up.
The book is available to preorder here: http://www.triggerpublishing.com/product/every-trich-in-the-book-overcoming-my-hair-pulling-disorderpre-order-now/ and is being released in the UK as a paperback and ebook on 9th July and in the US on 15th October.
Cara Ward is a writer from London and the author of the Weighting to Live series and Curing my Incurable Eczema, the story of her battle with eczema and red skin syndrome'.